[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s a thirteen-year-old, it was apparent that I liked to cook. Though I was terrible at it. I’ll never forget my first dish. Potato salad. I accidentally used sugar instead of salt. It tasted so bad the houseflies all pitched in to get our screen door fixed.
After my potato salad disaster, Mother had all she could stand. That Christmas she gave me a cookbook. Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook. It once belonged to my grandmother. The thing was an antique, published in 1950. In the back of the book was a slew of index cards covered in frilly handwriting. My grandmother’s writing. I learned how to cook with those recipe cards. I made everything from her oyster dressing to baked Alaska.
Though, I’ve only made baked Alaska once.
I promised the fire marshal I’d never attempt it again.
Yesterday, I found the cookbook in the attic, buried in an old box. Just seeing it catapulted me back twenty years. I remembered the Christmas I got it, and I thought about a grandmother I never knew.
I blew the dust off the book.
There was a card inside.
“Merry Christmas,” Mother’s handwriting read. “It’s time you had your own cookbook, and this one’s special. It belonged to my very best friend in the whole world. Now I’m passing it on to you. Mom would’ve wanted you to have it. I wish you could’ve known her, she made the best potato salad in the entire city.”
My mother wasn’t exaggerating.
I’ve made that potato salad a million times.